Last week CM Punk finally opened up about his final months in the WWE and unsurprisingly he chose to do so on the podcast of his good friend, Colt Cabana. In a near two hour long interview, he painted a kind of terrifying picture of a company that not only sounds like the creative equivalent of a dry well, but also sounds like a rather horrible place to work. It all came together to suggest that WWE may have more problems than the average fan believed.
First off, I think it is worth saying just how nice it was to hear CM Punk sounding happy. I don’t think it was much of a secret that towards the end of his WWE run, he was a very unhappy man and the time off, his marriage to WWE diva AJ Lee and the fact that a whole new world of opportunities have opened up to him, seems to have done the man well, something which as a fan, is very nice to see.
On the other hand, this interview also confirms a lot of WWE fans fears. It confirmed that the WWE is currently a pretty horrible environment to work in, unless you are one of a select few, and even more worryingly, it suggested that despite all their claims to the contrary, they are not that good at looking after their talent.
The most obvious place to pick up, as a fan, is the creative elements. I’m not going to repeat what Punk said, you can listen to the interview for that, but everything he says points towards a simple reality. WWE is still run by the whim of Vince McMahon and that whim is a prickly beast. It sounds like unless your name is John Cena or Triple H, it is likely your ideas will be dismissed, only to reappear later in a slightly different form. It is also sounds like he is a man not afraid to break his promises and who will quite happily put the short term pop over the long term plan. Of course, these are all accusations that have been made against McMahon in the past, but to hear them laid out in such simple terms, really strikes home the fact that this company needs a change at the top.
More wworryingly than poor creative, I mean as much as I love wrestling, WWE not being good is really not the end of the world, is the talk of some of WWE’s practices when it comes to injuries. Talent have worked hurt in the past, it is a part of the reality of being a wrestler, but there has always been a suggestion it is kind of their own choice. That wrestlers do it because they see it as part of the business, not because the brass are pushing them into it. The story CM Punk paints is very different It suggests that yes, he worked because of a feeling that that is what he should do, but that was because Vince was coming to him before he was fit and asking him to do so. It’s a worrying practice for the company to hold. These men and women put their bodies through a lot of crap and it is a sport that can take years off your life. For the very company that is supposed to represent these people to be so laissez faire about their health, is genuinely scary.
Which brings me on nicely to the doctor mentioned throughout the interview. It is bad enough that the WWE holds this attitude towards the workers. The fact a trained professional, who no matter who he works for should surely be putting the health of his patients ahead of that, appears to be so incompetent, may be the scariest part of all.
Now obviously this is one side of the story. CM Punk is one guy among a company of hundreds and he is one guy who openly admits he is still bitter about his experience there, although he has taken that bitterness and is using it to push him on, rather than stewing on it. However, even if half of this is solid fact (and I personally imagine it is a much higher amount than that) it points to a company that needs some serious help. The kind of practices being described are positively dangerous and it suggests that WWE may have more problems than just occasional bad TV programming, but rather that they may well be rotten to their very core. I don’t know if this interview and the points that Punk has made will make any difference, but at the very least I hope they open up the fans eyes to just how fucked up the world of WWE is.